THE apex socio,-cultural organisation of the Ijaw nation, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to order the release of Hon Farah Dagogo.
Dagogo, a federal lawmaker representing Degema/Bonny in the House of Representatives, was reportedly arrested on Wike’s order for allegedly disrupting the screening of governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt.
He was said to have been arrested alongside others and ordered to be remanded in police custody by a magistrate’s court in the state.
The Rivers State governor had earlier declared Dagogo wanted “for hiring cultists to attack the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Port Harcourt”.
But reacting in a statement titled “Arrest of Hon Farah Dagogo: Political Persecution of An Ijaw Son”, the Ijaw National Congress through its President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, on Saturday, called for his immediate release from incarceration within 48 hours in the interest of peace, justice and fairness, insisting that the charges levelled against him (Dagogo) were bailable.
Okaba in the statement said: “We wish to condemn, in most unequivocal terms, that Hon. Farah Dagogo’s continued detention without conviction in a court of law is a clear violation of his fundamental human rights.
“The illegal arrest and detention of Hon. Farah Dagogo, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is an orchestrated design by Governor Wike’s administration to persecute the Ijaws who are resolved to come together to contest the governorship of Rivers State. May we ask: when did the constitutionally guaranteed right to contest an election become a crime?
“As a former Minister of State in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led federal administration, did the then Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, who had become an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, threaten or ever arrested and illegally detained Governor Wike even though they were at loggerheads? When did Rivers State become the private empire of Governor Wike that indigenes need permission from him to decide their individual political future?
“The INC is particularly miffed at the trumped-up charges against Hon. Farah Dagogo that he hired cultists to disrupt the PDP screening exercise, which was presided over by his governor-colleague, Senator Douye Diri of Bayelsa State.
“Did Governor Diri ever call him (Governor Wike) that their lives were under threat on account of the invading cultists? Did the well-fortified security apparatus of Governor Diri call for security reinforcement because of Governor Wike’s imaginary marauding cultists?
“What on earth justifies this premeditated political onslaught against Hon. Farah Dagogo and the Rivers Ijaws? Was the mission essentially to deny him screening so that he would not have a chance to contest the governorship election against other opponents?
“We wish to remind Governor Wike that Hon. Farah Dagogo is as eminently qualified as any other Rivers man or woman to contest for the office of governor on the platform of the PDP. As nobody is denying Governor Wike his right to vie for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he too should refrain from scuttling the rights of others to aspire to any elective office in the country, including the office of governor of Rivers State.
“By his current shenanigans, Governor Wike has exposed his pangs to underscore his disdain for an Ijaw successor in Rivers State. We now know that this has been his secret agenda. But let the historic contributions of the Ijaw people to the creation of old Rivers State not be lost on Governor Wike.
“Governor Wike should be reminded that the beauty of democracy underscores free contest and not an imposition. He is not an emperor and, therefore, cannot single-handedly dictate a successor against globally accepted democratic tenets.
“As a sitting governor, who is exiting office in 2023 after his constitutional two tenures, his politics of succession must be seen to be all-inclusive and not designed overtly or covertly to exclude Ijaw interest in Rivers State.
“We have it on good authority that Hon. Farah Dagogo’s health has deteriorated as a result of his ordeal in the hands of Governor Wike. He is said to be suffering from chest and stomach complications. Let Governor Wike realise that the Ijaw nation is watching. Nothing should happen to Hon. Farah Dagogo.
“The INC, hereby, demands the immediate release of Hon. Farah Dagogo from incarceration within 48 hours. As a lawyer, Governor Wike knows that his trumped-up charges against Hon. Farah Dagogo are bailable. If Governor Wike thinks he has legitimate charges to convict him, he should allow the due process of the law to take its legitimate course. Release Hon. Farah Dagogo in the interest of peace, justice and fairness, to enable him to pursue his political ambition, to which he is constitutionally entitled.”
Contrabands blocking Apapa rail track are to be removed by NPA, says Customs
The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) has alleged that seized contraband goods blocking the rail track leading to Nigeria’s biggest seaport in Apapa Lagos are to be removed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
NCS, in a reaction to SlyeNews report on “Customs blocks Apapa port rail track with contrabands” said it was not the responsibility of Customs to remove the contrabands, but that of NPA.
Public Relation Officer, Apapa Area Command of NCS, Abubakar Usman said: “The contraband seized by Customs are to be moved by NPA not by the Nigeria Customs Service.
“This process includes some administrative exchange between the two agencies, which had already taken place. Logistics are already underway to evacuate the containers to government warehouse Ikorodu,” he stated.
The Project Manager, Team Construction Company, Mrs Precious Ebare, had earlier alleged that some of the contraband goods seized by Customs were on the rail track and slowing completion of the track to the terminal.
Ebare also said the Customs long room situated around the rail track was yet to be demolished, making it difficult for the construction company to proceed with the project.
But Usman said: “ The long room is not meant to be demolished. Customs long room is outside the port, far away from where the construction is ongoing. Furthermore, the rail track is designed to bypass the scanning site, making room for part of the building to be demolished,”
Efforts to reach NPA were not successful, as its spokesman, Nasir Ibrahim was unable to respond to enquiries as at press time
2023 Presidency: AGF Malami Opposes Moves By PDP, Others To Join Emefiele’s Suit
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Thursday, rejected the prayer by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join a suit filed by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over his presidential bid in the forthcoming 2023 elections.
The AGF also opposed a motion seeking to join two lawyers; John Aikpokpo-Martins and Olakunle Edun, on behalf of themselves and the Save Nigeria Our Fatherland, a group, before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Although counsel for Emefiele, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and lawyer to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), T.M. Inuwa, SAN, did not oppose the two applications, counsel for the AGF, Oladipe Opeseyi, SAN, objected to the move.
After an argument that lasted for about two hours, Justice Mohammed stood down the matter for ruling.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Emefiele, through his lawyer, had, on Monday, approached the court with an ex-parte motion, seeking the court’s interpretation as to whether he could run for the 2023 presidential primary while he holds office as Governor of CBN.
He had sought an order of the court, restraining the Federal Government from removing him from office over his presidential ambition, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.
He also prayed the court to stop the INEC from taking any action against him in the bid to contest in the presidential primary by virtue of his office.
The CBN governor made the prayers in an ex-parte motion dated and filed on May 9 by Ozekhome, seeking an order of maintenance of status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
But in his ruling, Justice Mohammed did not grant the motion.
Rather, he adjourned the matter until May 12 (today) for ruling.
The judge then made an order directing the INEC and AGF to appear today by noon over why Emefiele’s prayers should not be granted.
He ordered that all the applications, including the ex-parte, filed in the course of the matter be served on all the defendants.
He also directed that hearing notices be issued to the defendants to appear on the said date to show cause why the prayers should not be granted.
As of the time of filing this report, the judge is yet to deliver the ruling on whether the PDP and the group should be joined in the suit.
Alleged $.36m Fraud: EFCC Closes Case Against American
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has closed the case of alleged $368,698.24 VISA racket fraud brought against an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, before a Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
The defendant is facing an amended nine-count charge alongside his companies: USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP.
Ramirez, upon arraignment, pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges
At today’s proceeding, the prosecuting counsel, Samuel Daji presented the prosecution’s last witness, Ayotunde Solademi, who works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Office of the Legal Attache in the US Consulate.
He said: “Sometimes in 2016, the Office of the Legal Attache in Nigeria received a letter from the EFCC, containing a request that the FBI should assist the EFCC to find out about the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.
“Also to know if USA Now LLC has the right to issue out the EB-5 Investor Immigrant visa to Nigerians.
“The FBI investigated the matter relating to questions that were asked.”
According to him, following the conclusion of investigations, a reply of the findings was sent to the EFCC.
He said: “We responded to the EFCC based on our search and people interviewed.
“The main crux of our finding was that Nigeria is not a participant of the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.
“And if Nigeria is not a participant, then no company has been given the licence or right to give out the visa to them.”
He thereafter, identified the FBI correspondence with the EFCC, as the prosecution sought to tender it. There was no objection from the defence, and it was admitted in evidence as Exhibit P19.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, the new counsel for the defendant, the witness testified that Ramirez was in fact also wanted in the United States to stand trial for some other charges against him.
“Sometime in 2018, the FBI wanted the EFCC to return the defendant to the US to face charges against him,” he said.
After the cross-examination, the prosecution informed the Court that it was closing its case.
Thereafter Justice Dada adjourned till June 24, 2022 for the defence to open its case.
The charge reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP on or about the 26th day of July, 2013 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $250,000 from Gabriel Ogie Edeoghon under the false representation that the sum was his investment in your company: USA NOW Energy Capital Group LP in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme, which investment would qualify him to be eligible to a USA Green Card, and which representation you knew to be false.
“Marco Antonio Ramirez, on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 at Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $50,281.33 from Oludare Talabi under the false representation that the said sum is to procure United States of America L1 VISA programme for him, which representation you knew to be false.”
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